After working for a couple of weeks at Ascade, I must admit that so far, this is the company with the best work organization I have seen so far. I am pretty sure things are quite cool at Ms and Google but I was really impressed with Ascade. First, there is training; and when I say training, I really mean it to the full extent. Mostly it consists of the lectures and they are 1-4 hours long and the total time (I am still attending the training sessions) is 3 weeks. Some days it is 4 hours total but some are full 8 hours of training. Then, there are really nice step-by-step written manuals how to do things. The only thing that you could do better that that is probably video tutorials. Otherwise, you feel pretty comfortable about being a new person in the company.
The work (sketching, developing, coding) starts with writing the documentation, describing that data flow, names of the datasets, forms, gui that will be used in the program. Then, some of the data is transferred into XML from which the documentation will be written as well as some auto-generation of the reports (tables in the database, stored procedures, etc.). The system is mostly new to me but I think as soon as I will learn it, I will enjoy working there.
Besides the technical part of the work, we get free breakfast on Mondays, cookies and cakes on Wednesdays and beer on Fridays (for the weekly Fridays meetings, no need to say that everyone attends those). I hope I didn't reveal company's secret here.
By the way, I am starting my SFI classes (Swedish) on September 13. Svenska, baby.